NEW DELHI — A Sri Lankan man was wounded in the final months of the country’s bloody civil war by an unexploded cluster bomblet that tore into his leg and buried itself in the gash, a medical worker who saw the injury told The Associated Press on Friday.
The revelation, along with a photograph that purports to show the wound, added further credence to accusations cluster munitions had been used during the final months of the war.
Many of the thousands wounded in the government offensive against ethnic Tamil rebels in northern Sri Lanka also had burns consistent with those caused by incendiary white phosphorus bombs, the medical worker said. He spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals from the Sri Lankan government.
Parliament yesterday passed a law that spelt out the punishment for torture – 15 years imprisonment or a fine of Shs 7.2m upon conviction. The new law comes out of “The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Bill, 2010”, which was tabled by Ndorwa East MP, Wilfred Niwagaba (NRM).
It is intended to define and criminalize torture, and provide for sanctions and compensation in case of the offence of torture, and regulate the use of information obtained through torture. Although Articles 24 and 44 of the Constitution guarantee freedom from torture, the existing laws did not make torture a criminal offence. According to Article 28(12) of the Constitution, no one shall be charged or convicted of any offence unless that offence and penalty is prescribed by law.
The bill was passed in 90 minutes, after all legislators agreed that most perpetrators of torture were charged with lighter offences of assault. “We are all interested in the law because many people fall victim to this and they don’t get justice due to lack of an elaborate legal framework,” said Odonga Otto (Aruu).
The impact of war isn’t limited to just landmines. Explosive remnants of war (ERW) cause fear, insecurity, and physical harm to countless numbers of people throughout the world. “Surviving the Peace” is a film about the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos decades after the war ended that put them there.
Please watch this film and share with others. Now is the time to take action.
In dealing with the aftermath of war crimes by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), many people of Uganda are choosing a path of reconciliation as they welcome back child soldiers and LRA officers into their villages. “Uganda: The Challenge of Forgiveness” chronicles religious leaders, elders, and parents who are exercising remarkable leadership and courage in choosing to forgive as they seek to rebuild their communities.
U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Johnson joined the military later in life than many of his colleagues in the armed forces.
Few people can say that on any given day, they may be putting themselves in the line of fire to save the lives of others. For former Brighton resident Christopher Johnson, on the other hand, it’s something of an occupational hazard.
That’s exactly what it was Nov. 7 when the convoy the U.S. Army specialist was traveling in struck an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Before the scene could be secured and the all-clear command given, ensuring the area of the attack was safe for the rest of the servicemembers in the convoy, he sprinted forward to treat the injured.
"I rushed to the scene because I’m their medic, and I knew every minute I waited, there could be more chance for their injuries to elevate — with the chance of losing them if their injuries were bad enough," he said in a recent e-mail from Afghanistan.
A Malian family who fled unrest in the northeastern city Gao waits for transport after arriving by bus in the capital Bamako April 11, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Penney
DAKAR (AlertNet) – The only functioning hospital in the rebel-held northern Malian town of Timbuktu is running out of medical supplies and urgently needs restocking so doctors can save lives, the head of a medical charity operating there has warned.
The shortage of medicines is particularly critical for people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension who need to take medication regularly, said Thierry Allafort-Duverger, director general of the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA).
“Our teams have seen diabetic patients who have come to the hospital in a state of coma due to the lack of insulin,” Allafort-Duverger, said on the phone from Bamako, the capital of Mali.
CMC Director Laura Cheeseman presents at the Intersessional Meeting in Geneva. Photo credit: CMC
(Geneva, 16 April 2012) This week’s meeting to discuss worldwide progress on the ban on cluster munitions began today, with promising news that several countries will soon ratify the ban treaty.
During today’s discussions on the universalisation of the Convention, Australia, Canada, Chad, Hungary, Peru, Sweden and Switzerland all announced that they will become states parties to the Convention in the coming months. Chad, Hungary, Peru and Sweden all announced parliamentary approval and now need to deposit instruments of ratification with the United Nations.
There were no announcements made from states still outside the Convention on plans to accede to the treaty, but the CMC hopes to hear updates from non-signatories during the course of the week.
Did you know there’s around 2,000 landmine accidents a month in around 60 countries and that 20 percent of the 300,000 landmine amputees around the world are children? So what’s the connection then between land mines and workplace team building exercises in Australia? A new project has been launched called “Helping Hands" and in your workplace you can build prosthetic hands for victims of landmines. Annie Gaffney spoke with Matt Henricks, an organisational psychologist, and started by asking him how this project came about in Australia.
FORT RILEY, Kan. (April 11, 2012) — As current and future enemies attempt to adapt to the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures down range, counteraction seems to be a critical aspect of the training mission stateside.
Soldiers training at Fort Riley have the advantage of one of the Army’s first computer-based mission training complexes. The MTC is integrated with other training capabilities that form the digital training campus that opened in June 2009.
The 160,000-square-foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold-certified building is just one of many resources at Fort Riley’s Regional Training Campus — a major facet in the new Forces Command Regional Collective Training Capability concept. Fort Riley was identified as an RCTC-host installation in July 2011, one of 27 in the Army, because of its centralized location and efficient training capabilities.
Campaigners in the Gambia celebrate the first anniversary of entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 August 2011. Photo credit: WANEP
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), through its Survivor Network Project and with specific financial support from the Norwegian government, have launched a request for proposals to support promising landmine and cluster munition survivor networks in sustaining and building their capacity.
The goal of the new Survivor Network Project is to support survivor networks so that survivors are better able to contribute to victim assistance efforts in their country and participate in national and international advocacy efforts related to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This project is designed to respond to the needs and interests of survivors as expressed at the recent ICBL-CMC workshop, “Push for Survivor Participation in Practice”, held in Phnom Penh just before the opening of the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. At this workshop, mine/ERW survivors, ICBL Victim Assistance Focal Points and campaigners, called on the ICBL-CMC to provide more support, both technical and financial, to survivors’ networks to enhance their participation in both campaigns.
This project also responds to a specific request from Norway to partner with the ICBL-CMC to specifically support survivor networks and strengthen their participation in the work of the conventions.
The ICBL-CMC has limited funding available from Norway to provide support to between 4 and 6 survivor networks. ICBL-CMC also able to provide technical capacity building support to some additional networks. Please find further details in the below documents, applications are due on 30 April 2012, decisions will be announced by 31 May 2012.
An Afghan landmine victim touches his prosthetic leg at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) orthopaedic rehabilitation centre in Kabul March 16, 2011. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood
KABUL, April 12 (Reuters) - Gently massaging the soft flesh under his knees, 20-year-old Abdul Ahmat recalls the suicide bomb six months ago that destroyed his legs.
The former construction worker, in a wheelchair after his legs were amputated, is among a growing number of Afghans severely wounded by bombs that have grown grimly more powerful than ever before in three decades of conflict.
"I stepped onto the street to head to work, when suddenly I became helpless. I knew I had lost my legs," the father of one said of the attack that killed 13 foreign troops and four Afghans in the capital, Kabul, in October 2011.
The conflict has ended but many humanitarian needs remain.
In recent weeks, the ICRC renewed its agreement with the Libyan authorities for several years, and provided urgent assistance for wounded people following clashes in Sabha and close to the Tunisian border.
Assistance for medical facilities in Zwarra, Jmail and Ragdalin
Clashes broke out on 2 April near the towns of Zwarra and Ragdalin, about 120 kilometres west of Tripoli, along the road leading to Tunisia. “The violence left around 25 people dead and over 300 wounded,” said Fatma Eljack, an ICRC delegate.
On 4 and 5 April, the ICRC and the Libyan Red Crescent provided medical supplies for first aid and emergency treatment, body bags and stretchers for the hospitals of Zwarra and Jmail and for the primary health-care unit in Ragdalin.
Draft of legal framework to be tabled before Parliament. PHOTO: AFP/FILE
ISLAMABAD: Under constant pressure from the US over the increasing use of Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs) by militants on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border, Pakistani authorities have worked out a strategy to counter the threat.
Draft legislation for the National Strategy to Counter-IED will be soon tabled in parliament for approval, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The proposed C-IED Act 2012 will provide a legal framework for the strategy and deal with issues like monitoring and controlling ingredients used in IED-making and prosecution of criminals by introducing new amendments to existing laws.
Australian Ambassador to Laos Ms Lynda Worthaisong and UNDP Resident Representative Mr Minh Pham shake hands at a ceremony to mark International UXO/Mine Awareness Day.
The Australian government has contributed a further AU$1 million through the UXO Trust Fund, to support UXO clearance, risk awareness and rehabilitation programmes in Laos.
Australian Ambassador to Laos Ms Lynda Worthaisong made the announcement in Vientiane yesterday on International UXO/Mine Awareness Day, reaffirming Australia’s strong commitment to supporting UXO clearance and awareness programmes in Laos.
Ms Worthaisong said that Australia is a longstanding supporter of UXO action in Laos. “Since 1996, we have provided an estimated AU$24 million for UXO clearance, risk education and UXO survivors. I am very pleased to be announcing further support to the sector on the occasion of International UXO/Mine Awareness Day.”
The residents of Al-Hasaba district in downtown Sana’a are afraid to walk the streets of their neighborhood, the scene of fierce battles last year between Saleh’s forces and opposition tribesmen, for fear of stepping on a landmine. Several landmines have already exploded in Al-Hasaba, leaving people maimed.
In May of last year, an armed conflict broke out between security forces loyal to the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and supporters of the powerful tribal chief Sadeq al-Ahmar. The war did not last long. However, tensions remained high for almost a year.
Some mines have exploded in the past several months in the neighborhood, leaving two military personnel with an amputated leg.
A livestock market in Samburu. A similar market at the Kenya-Ethiopia border is helping in conflict resolution. Picture: File
Kenya and Ethiopia are opening up their volatile border to more trade as they seek to improve community relations, ease inter-ethnic tensions to reduce demand for small arms and disrupt one of the main routes of illicit small arms coming into East Africa.
Illicit small arms trade in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region has been one of the main drivers of crime across East Africa and has sustained organised criminal networks like cattle rustlers and urban robbers.
The result has been underdevelopment of certain regions in all affected countries as local and foreign investors shun crime infested areas while businesses spend heavily on security.
Lloyds and Aviva among the major firms invoking ‘stop lists’ to purge cluster munitions companies from their share portfolios
A young victim of an apparent cluster bomb attack in Misrata, Libya in April last year. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
Four of Britain’s biggest banks and insurance companies have blacklisted a dozen companies that manufacture cluster bombs and landmines, including two of the world’s largest defence firms.
The Guardian has learned that major firms such as Lloyds Banking Group (through its investment arm Scottish Widows), Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, and the Co-op have imposed a blanket ban on holdingshares in companies that make or supply cluster munitions, purging them from nearly all their share portfolios.
Royal Bank of Scotland has banned all new lending to the same companies, and is now reviewing its defence industry shareholdings. Similar action is being taken by all the firms to clear out shares in anti-personnel landmine manufacturers, following intense pressure from human rights campaigners.
Meet Marian Bechtel. She’s a 17-year-old pianist, scientist, 2012 Intel Talent Search finalist, and passionate anti-war activist. Oh, and a normal high school student in Pennsylvania.
Bechtel invented a low-cost device that can act as a prototype for a new type of mine sweeper. Using sound waves to determine where explosives are located, the device is a standard metal detector equipped with microphones and a seismic vibrator. Her idea came about when she played certain notes on the piano and noticed that the strings of a nearby banjo would vibrate — she then decided to investigate whether the same principle could be applied to detecting landmines in warzones.
Bechtel’s project was also inspired by her parents’ work in geology. “Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines,” she told MSNBC. “I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say.”
Marian was in good company with her fellow Intel Science Talent Search 2012 finalists. Seventeen-year-old grand Prize winner Nithin Tumma won $100,000 for his pioneering breast cancer research. And although she didn’t win, finalist Samantha Garvey, a homeless New York high school student, won a $50,000 scholarship, appeared on “The Ellen Show,” and was invited to hear Obama speak at the White House.
The Clear Path International office in Kabul, Afghanistan
I’ve known of James Hathaway and the NGO he co-founded, Clear Path International, for many years. They do great work to help civilian survivors of landmine blasts, people who now have disabling injuries, live better lives through medical care, education, improved mobility and access, and other forms of support. Clear Path originally focused their efforts in Vietnam, but have since expended into other conflict/post-conflict zones including Cambodia and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, James says, is “by far our largest project,” with work ongoing in 19 of the country’s 34 provinces. James returned to Kabul to work with the CPI team there, just as the security situation abruptly escalated to a new level of crisis.
James and crew are spending a lot of time with bulletproof vests on, in safe rooms, and surrounded by very heavily armed security guys. James is blogging daily, and explains why he’s there and what they’re trying to accomplish in the following account, republished here in entirety with permission.
The UN estimates that more than one million people have been killed or injured by landmines in the past 30 years. Worldwide, the productivity costs associated with landmine and small arms violence have been estimated as high as US$163 billion a year. Although landmine injuries have declined…